Dogwood Health Trust hosting community meetings

Speakers will focus on factors influencing health

ASHEVILLE – Dogwood Health Trust announced Monday, Sept. 9, plans to host a series of three community meetings in October to provide education and obtain input on the priorities for addressing social determinants of health throughout Western North Carolina.

During the sessions, national public health experts will take part in a panel discussion highlighting the various factors that influence health and well-being and discuss possible ways to address these issues throughout the region.

“One of the Trust’s guiding principles is to keep people and communities first,” said Janice Brumit, chair of the Dogwood Health Trust Board of Directors. “These community meetings will help us better understand the unique health needs of the nearly one million Western North Carolinians we serve and hear expert perspectives that will help collectively determine how to best address some of our region’s most pressing health issues.”

The meetings, which are open to the public, will also be the region’s introduction to the Trust’s new CEO Antony Chiang, who will serve as a panelist before formally assuming his new role in November. Additional speakers include:

Rebecca Onie, J.D., Co-founder, The Health Initiative: A nationally recognized leader in population and public health, Onie is a MacArthur “Genius” awardee and recipient of Forbes’ Impact 30 Award for leading social entrepreneurs. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and an Aspen Institute Health Innovator.

Rocco Perla, Ed.D., Co-founder, The Health Initiative (MODERATOR): Perla is a former director of the CMS Innovation Center, where he established the national learning system to test new delivery and payment models through the Affordable Care Act and oversaw the $1 Billion Partnership for Patients and the Million Hearts Campaign. He is president emeritus of Health Leads and currently holds an assistant professorship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Betsey Tilson, Chief Medical Officer, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: As state health director, Tilson promotes public health and prevention activities throughout the state while continuing to practice as a primary care physician at Wake County Human Services Child Health Clinic. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Dartmouth College, a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The meetings will take place in communities across Western North Carolina to make them widely accessible to the region’s diverse population.

“Our vision is to measurably transform the health of our region, starting with an understanding of the health equity needs and health disparities of our communities,” Chiang said. “That’s why we are so incredibly grateful for these meetings, which will be a meaningful step to learn and to hopefully begin to build deep relationships with partners.  If it was easy for anyone actor to move the needle, that stakeholder could just do it. Instead, it will take collaboration to transform health.”

While the meetings are open to the public, space is limited. Visit: to register and reserve seating.

The MItchell News

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